On Love for Enemies

St. Silouan the Athonite 1886-1938

[H]e who will not love his enemies cannot come to know the Lord and the sweetness of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit teaches us to love our enemies, so that the soul pities them as if they were her own children.

There are people who desire the destruction, the torment in hell-fire of their enemies, or the enemies of the Church. They think like this because they have not learnt divine love from the Holy Spirit, for he who has learned the love of God will shed tears for the whole world.

You say that So-and-so is an evil-doer and may he burn in hell-fire. But I ask you — supposing God were to give you a fair place in paradise, and you saw burning in the fire the man on whom you had wished the tortures of hell, even then would you really not feel pity for him, whoever he might be, an enemy of the Church even? Or is it that you have a heart of steel? But there is no place for steel in paradise. Paradise has need of humility and the love of Christ, which pities all men.

The grace of God is not in the man who does not love his enemies. O merciful Lord, by Thy Holy Spirit teach us to love our enemies, and pray for them with tears. (St Silouan the Athonite by Archimandrite Sophrony, pp. 275-276)

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